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Ramsay students show geographic knowledge

| Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 6:22 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Ramsay Elementary teacher Kristy Frohliger places the winner’s medal on Paul Spinneweber, who took the school title in the National Geographic Bee held on Wednesday.

Do you know where Mt. Kosciuszko is located or where the Potomac River empties?

Ramsay Elementary students knew the answers and many more pertaining to parts of the world as they demonstrated their knowledge in the school's final round of the National Geographic Bee.

“This was a lot of fun,” Mt. Pleasant Area School District Superintendent Timothy Gabauer said of the competition. “It was very challenging, and for the fifth- and sixth-grade students to know the answers to these questions was very impressive.”

The preliminary round of the competition, held in late fall, included all the school's fifth- and sixth-grade students. They were given multiple choices for answers. Wednesday's competition was those who had advanced. There were 11.

This is the second year the school has participated in the national event thanks to fifth-grade social studies and science teacher Kristy Frohliger.

“We do geography every day in class and I also encourage students to study on their own,” Frohliger said, adding that her own interest in the subject helped to bring the competition to the school. “I have a love of geography. My grandfather always quizzed us when we were super little, so I have always loved it.”

For the final round, the 11 students were asked questions. After answering two incorrectly, they were eliminated until two students remained.

Cally Hixson, 12, and Paul Spinneweber, 11, then entered into a series of tie-breaking questions until Spinneweber was the only one to answer “magma” to the question: “What is the term for melted rock beneath the Earth's surface that can erupt as lava.”

“I'm surprised and excited,” Spinneweber said, adding that he did a lot of studying on the website recommended to students for preparation for the competition.

Frohliger said she was happy with the students' performances in the final rounds. “I was very pleased with how well they did.”

She added that said the students also enjoy the competition.

“The students last year said ‘Oh my gosh, I can't wait to do it next year,' and the sixth-grade students wanted it to be brought to the junior high,” Frohliger said.

Spinneweber will now be tested to determine if he can proceed to the state competitions, which will be held sometime in May.

“Next week I will give him a written test,” Frohliger said. “When he is finished, I will then mail it and they will contact us if he qualifies to move on to the state competition.”

Spinneweber said he will study in earnest before the test.

“I know a lot about the states, but now I will study about the rest of the world,” Spinneweber said.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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